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VitaLife Cuisine Dog Food receives the Advisor’s mid-tier rating of 3.5 stars.
The VitaLife Cuisine product line includes three tubbed products, each claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for puppies and adult dogs.
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- VitaLife Cuisine Real Beef Stew
- VitaLife Cuisine Simmered Real Chicken
- VitaLife Cuisine Real Chicken and Beef Medley
VitaLife Cuisine Real Beef Stew was selected to represent the other products in the line for this review.
VitaLife Cuisine Real Beef Stew
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken broth, beef, carrots, peas, rice, vegetable oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), vitamins & minerals (dicalcium phosphate, potassium chloride, cholin chloride, vitamin E supplement, magnesium sulfate, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, vitamin A acetate, riboflavin, thiamine hydrochloride, copper sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, manganese sulfate, folic acid, calcium iodate, vitamin B12 supplement, sodium selenite, vitamin D3 supplement), tapioca starch, salt, potato starch, inulin, yeast extract, turmeric
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 9.1%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||36%||9%||47%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||35%||21%||44%|
The first ingredient in this dog food is chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. But because they add both flavor and moisture to a dog food they are a common addition component in many canned products.
The second ingredient is beef. Beef is defined as “the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle” and includes skeletal muscle or the muscle tissues of the tongue, diaphragm, heart or esophagus.1
Beef is naturally rich in all ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The third ingredient is carrots. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, minerals and dietary fiber.
The fourth ingredient is peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.
However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
The fifth ingredient is rice. Is this whole grain rice, brown rice or white rice? Since the word “rice” doesn’t tell us much, it’s impossible to judge the quality of this item.
The sixth ingredient is vegetable oil, a generic oil of unknown origin. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in any oil is nutritionally critical and can vary significantly (depending on the source).
Without knowing more, it’s impossible to judge the quality of an item so vaguely described. However, compared to a named animal fat, a generic vegetable oil cannot be considered a quality ingredient.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.
With three notable exceptions…
First, we note the inclusion of inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and typically sourced from chicory root.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
Next, yeast extract is the common name for a broad group of products made by removing the cell wall from the yeast organism.
A significant number of these ingredients are added as specialized nutritional supplements while others are used as flavor enhancers.
However, the glutamic acid (and its chemical cousin, monosodium glutamate, or MSG) found in a minority of yeast extracts can be controversial.
That’s because even though the Food and Drug Administration designated these food additives to be safe decades ago2, the agency continues to receive reports of adverse effects.
So, detractors still object to the use of yeast extract and other glutamic acid derivatives and blame them for everything from Alzheimer’s (in humans) to obesity.
In any case, since the label reveals little about the the actual type of yeast extract included in any recipe, it’s impossible for us to judge the quality of this ingredient.
And lastly, the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
VitaLife Cuisine Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, VitaLife Cuisine dog food looks like an above average wet product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 36% and a mean fat level of 9%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 27% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 25%.
Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical wet dog food.
When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the peas, this looks like the profile of a wet product containing a moderate amount of meat.
VitaLife Cuisine dog food is a plant-based wet product using a moderate amount of beef or chicken as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 3.5.
Please note some products may have been given higher or lower ratings based upon our estimate of their total meat content.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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However, due to the biological uniqueness of every animal, none of our ratings are intended to suggest feeding a particular product will result in a specific dietary response or health benefit for your pet.
For a better understanding of how we analyze each product, please read our article, "The Problem with Dog Food Reviews".
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Notes and Updates
07/11/2014 Last Update